Science, Tech

Future Filters

English: Drop of water falling into a glass of...

English: Drop of water falling into a glass of water with a green paper background. Italiano: Goccia fotografata mentre cade in un bicchiere d’acqua su sfondo di carta verde (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have in my kitchen a Brita filter jug.  I don’t use it for some health reason but because, generally, without it the water around here tastes awful.  It’s a choice I make and a not particularly life and death one, the worst situation I’d find myself in is getting home gasping for a cuppa.

Elsewhere in the world clean water is more of a priority and recently a number of advances have been made in getting clean water to people who need it the most including a water carrier that cleans the contents via reverse osmosis – using the motion of the barrel as it’s rolled along the ground to force the water through membranes which allow water molecules to pass but stop larger impurities.  Reverse osmosis processes to desalinate water typically need high pressures and much energy to operate.

The latest development though uses sheets of the 21st century wonder-material – graphene, which, at a single atom thick, are  500 times thinner than the best desalination filter on the market, allowing the process to operate with pressures 100 times lower.  As Gizmodo reports these filters are being developed and rushed to production by Lockheed-Martin though as a commenter points out MIT has also been working on the same solution.

Some have said that the process also filters out minerals from the water but given the choice I think most people would choose mineral, and contaminant-free water over no water at all.